Lipids

, Volume 42, Issue 4, pp 335–344

Longitudinal Assessment of Erythrocyte Fatty Acid Composition Throughout Pregnancy and Post Partum

  • Frances Stewart
  • Vanessa A. Rodie
  • Jane E. Ramsay
  • Ian A. Greer
  • Dilys J. Freeman
  • Barbara J. Meyer
Original Article

Abstract

Transfer of fatty acids from mother to fetus during pregnancy is a requirement for optimal fetal growth. We report a longitudinal study of full maternal erythrocyte fatty acid profile assessed at each trimester of pregnancy [mean 12.5 (range 8–14), 26.1 (24–28) and 35.5 (33–38) weeks’ gestation] and in the post partum period [18.1 (12–26) weeks]. The study recruited healthy women (n = 47) from routine antenatal clinics at the Princess Royal Maternity Unit, Glasgow, Scotland. There were increases in 16:1n7 (22%, p = 0.0005), 24:1n9 (13%, p = 0.0032), 22:5n6 (25%, p = 0.0003), 18:3n3 (41%, p = 0.0007) and 22:6n3 (20%, p = 0.0005) concentrations during pregnancy. The greatest increases took place between gestations at sampling of 12.5 and 26.1 weeks. The change in 16:1n7 concentration between gestations at sampling of 12.5 and 35.3 weeks was negatively associated with maternal booking body mass index (r = −0.40, p = 0.006). The change in 22:6n3 concentration was correlated with the change in 24:1n9 (r = 0.70, p < 0.001). In samples taken four months post partum, 14:0 concentration was lower (29%, p = 0.0002) and 24:0 concentration (15%, p = 0.0009) and n6/n3 ratio (11%, p = 0.0019) were higher than at a gestation at sampling of 12.5 weeks. In conclusion, several fatty acids are specifically mobilised during pregnancy. The correlation between maternal 22:6n3 and 24:1n9 suggests that mobilisation of these fatty acids may be coordinated. The inverse relationship between 16:1n7 and maternal central obesity warrants further investigation.

Keywords

Fatty acid Pregnancy Obesity 

Abbreviations

12:0

Lauric acid

14:0

Myristic acid

16:0

Palmitic acid

18:0

Stearic acid

20:0

Arachidic acid

22:0

Behenic acid

24:0

Lignoceric acid

16:1n7

Palmitoleic acid

18:1n9

Oleic acid

20:1n9

Eicosenoic acid

22:1n9

Erucic acid

24:1n9

Nervonic acid

18:2n6

Linoleic acid

18:3n6

Gamma-linolenic acid

20:3n6

Dihomo-gamma-linolenic acid

20:4n6

Arachidonic acid

22:4n6

Adrenic acid

22:5n6

Docosapentaenoic acid

18:3n3

Alpha-linolenic acid

20:5n3

Eicosapentaenoic acid

22:5n3

Docosapentaenoic acid

22:6n3

Docosahexaenoic acid

n9

Omega-9 monounsaturated fatty acids

n7

Omega-7 monounsaturated fatty acids

n6

Omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids

n3

Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids

LC

Long chain

MUFA

Monounsaturated fatty acids

FA

Fatty acids

C20-22

Fatty acids with carbon chain lengths of 20–22 carbons

SCD

Stearyl CoA desaturase

WHR

Waist:hip ratio

BMI

Body mass index

DEPCAT

Deprivation score, which is a measure of socioeconomic status

PUFA

Polyunsaturated fatty acids

SAFA

Saturated fatty acids

Copyright information

© AOCS 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Frances Stewart
    • 1
  • Vanessa A. Rodie
    • 1
  • Jane E. Ramsay
    • 1
  • Ian A. Greer
    • 1
  • Dilys J. Freeman
    • 1
  • Barbara J. Meyer
    • 2
  1. 1.Division of Developmental MedicineUniversity of Glasgow, Royal InfirmaryGlasgowUK
  2. 2.School of Health SciencesUniversity of WollongongWollongongAustralia

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